All Wound Up

Knitting hours are few and far between with the very active men in my life. Last week when we traveled east for my sister’s wedding, it was the first time in 10 years that I didn’t have a knitting project with me…not that I was bored, a 15-month old who changes activities every five minutes takes a lot of focus especially on a plane! Still, I find a few minutes each night to plunk out a row or two and over time it does add up.

Since October I’ve only completed a handful of projects. An intarsia infinity scarf, a baby blanket, a hat for Luke and two crochet shawls. When I write it out, it feels like a lot but after slogging through a project week after week, my interest wans.

Pattern: Blue Blanket Yarn: Super soft acrylic (yes it exists) scavenged from my mom’s stash

The last two months have been dedicated to a baby blanket for some very special new parents-to-be in our lives. But what inspired me to knit a 36” afghan on size 3 needles is beyond me. I love knitting baby blankets for our friends’ kids and I like thinking about all the love and hopes I have for them being represented in every stitch. I can think of at least a dozen little ones who have been wrapped in handknits and who are on their way to becoming incredibly awesome humans. I’m biased but I definitely think there is a correlation.

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Pattern: Herrington Yarn: Knitpicks Palette

The infinity scarf was a guilty pleasure knit for myself. I absolutely love the way colorwork looks on a finished project but it totally intimidates me. However, I have scores of fingering weight yarn in my stash that isn’t going to go anywhere if I don’t start partnering them up for bigger projects. Once I got going on this however, it rolled along quickly and the pattern was easy to memorize.

After seeing this shawl on pinterest, I was mildly obsessed and snagged the pattern for a very special bride I know. I really enjoyed crocheting it, so much so that I repeated the pattern for myself and I’m not one to repeat patterns.

Luke’s hat was born of necessity and yes, I realize how silly that sounds sitting in Southern California. But, his daycare takes him outside twice a day for an hour very nearly rain or shine. Evenings in our arid climate can get pretty cool even in the summer so a good hat is important to this momma. Plus, our kid was blessed with a huge head and it’s next to impossible to find hats to fit him. I had to use an adult pattern for the circumference (Barley if anyone’s interested) but I’m thinking of ripping it back to shorten the height and reduce the slouch.

It’s hard to say what will end up on the needles next but knit-night is tonight and I’m excited to finally show up with a new project!

Just Call Me Fraulein Maria

We are big baby carriers at the Good house. Don’t get me wrong, we have our fair share of strollers (7!) but most of the time we carry our babies. Ellis slept a ton in the carrier during his first year. Calvin spends as much time being carried because it means I can be hands-free. In fact, he is in the carrier as I write this.



I have a couple of carriers that I love. I’m looking at you Maya ring sling. But the Ergo Baby Carrier does the heavy lifting (literally) in this family. It is the best carrier for Adam, it is the most user-friendly for friends to throw on, and it is the most comfortable for day-to-day carrying for me.

The Ergo has been with us from the start. It was a baby shower gift (Thanks Gran Jan and Grande John). And we have used it almost constantly in the past 3.5 years. If I had to guess I would say we have used that thing for 3-4 hours each day for 20 months with Ellis and nine months with Calvin. That is roughly 3,087 hours of use! That thing is a work horse and an essential part of surviving infancy for us. I imagine we will keep using the Ergo with Cal for another nine months at least.



Sadly our old carrier was starting to show it’s age. The organic cotton lining had rubbed away along the edges and the batting was starting to fall out. The hood, or as we like to call it, the most expensive napkin we own, was stained and worn.

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Buying a new carrier was out of the question, because Calvin only gets hand-me-downs , there is still a lot of life left in the carrier and at this point it has become our lovie. It desperately needed a facelift though.

I am NOT an expert sewer (is that really the word for person who sews? Unfortunate…). I lucked into a beautiful old sewing machine (Adam’s Grandmother’s 1952 featherweight singer) and it makes me want to learn. I decided to take the plunge and try to replace the lining myself.

I picked out an animal print from dwell studio from my stash. The fabric is leftover curtains from a bedding set I found at the thrift store. We only used the crib skirt from the set. The curtains are short and I knew I would never use them as curtains. The fabric is super babyish, but so is the baby carrier. It was also the right-weight cotton for the job I think; I don’t really know what that means, but I think it makes me sound like a more proficient sewer seamstress (Adam says this is the correct word for a person who sews).


Two nights later … presto. A new-looking baby carrier! I am pretty happy with how this turned out. I probably won’t start making all the play clothes out of curtains, but it feels good to stretch the life of our most prized baby gear.

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Retroactive Love

One of the best parts of having a baby is falling in love. The pure euphoria of the bond between parent and child is an amazing feeling. Being able to fall in love with a tiny human as partners is truly life affirming and the thing I cherish the most about the early days of parenting.

When Ellis was three weeks old I remember sitting on the couch with him and Adam and being perfectly happy. The people I loved most in the whole world were with me on that couch. I thought about how much I wanted that for Ellis: to grow to love people that much and to experience that deep happiness. And then I got very sad because I realized that his happiness would one day not include us. His couch of happiness would have to be of his own making just like mine was at that moment. That lop-sided love is hard.

The most unexpected part of becoming a parent was being able to finally relate to my parents, but not because we are both parents now. That seems obvious that we would be able to relate over our shared experience and rite of passage into parenthood. Rather, the surprising part for me was finally getting a glimpse of what is was like to have been their baby. As a parent, I found myself on one end of the fiercest love I had ever experienced and I realized that I had been on the receiving end of that from the beginning. When I became a parent I experienced all of the retroactive love that my parents must have felt/feel for me. I knew how intense my love was for my children and realizing that I was once the object of such intense love and joy was deeply comforting.


I am very fortunate to have many parents in my life. A present Mom and Dad even through divorce. Step parents who have nurtured me for 25 years. In laws who have loved me for the past 10. A slew of grandparents and wonderful Godparents. But I only have one mom and I only know what it is like to be a mom (not a dad, step-parent, in law or grandparent) so I can only write from my specific experience.

The cycle of mothering and being mothered is a strange and complicated thing. My mom was and is a great mom. She was patient and playful and hardworking. She instilled the value of education and hard work by example. She worked and went back to school when I was little, which I know she feels guilty about, but I always appreciated seeing her model achievement. Like many mothers and daughters our relationship wasn’t always easy, especially when I was a teenager and did crappy things (like glue hundreds of magazine ads to my wall because my mom asked me not to use push pins…)

One of the things I enjoy the most now is watching my mother play with my children, because I get to peek at the kind of parent she was when I was very little before I can remember. She is a very on-the-level grandparent. She is the first to play peek-a-boo at a restaurant. Or grab a ball and invent a game that can be played for the next half hour. She connects effortlessly with her grandkids. And I bet she was like that with me and my brother when we were very little.

I believe that all parents can be great parents, but not all the time. Some are great with babies, others really get teenagers. I am not sure what my phase is yet (I have like each one more than the last) but it is very evident to me that my mom is an excellent toddler person. And since that isn’t a phase that I have memory of, I love getting to re-live it second hand through witnessing the grandparent/grandkid relationship.

There is a saying “love me, love my kids” but I have found the opposite to be very true: loving my children shows just how much you love me and always have. So mom, since you are one of the handful people who always reads the blog I know you will see this: Thank you!


Feeling Green

Changes in season here in SoCal can be very less than inspiring. Still, the convergence of spring, Earth Day and Mother’s Day always leave me longing to get my hands in some soil. (We always bought plants on/for/around Mother’s Day…does everyone?)

While I was off work, I stopped by our local OSH, it’s the West Coast version of Ace, similar to Home Depot/Lowes but smaller and focused on home and garden. Talk about falling down a rabbit hole, I went in for hummingbird food and tomato plants…$60 later I walked out with this:


Six succulents, a gardenia, a violet, a fern, two tomato plants and a zucchini plant…(plus humming bird food, and orchid and violet food). I wish I could have heard Eric’s inner monologue when he saw the back of the car.

I have a soft spot for succulents. They’re so pretty and simultaneously so low maintenance. I love to propagate them and have a boatload thanks to a centerpiece I got from an event years ago. I’ve started collecting various types and I couldn’t walk away from these at $.99.

My grandmother was a queen of growing African violets, she could stick a leaf in a dish of water and two weeks later it was a fully blooming beauty. (Not really but as a kid it sure felt like it.) I don’t see her as often as I’d like but having these violets on hand make me feel less far away.

The gardenia was a splurge just for me. My friend and former boss used to bring me clipped gardenias to float in water and they make your whole house smell lovely. I decided I needed something that bloomed in my life.

The fern is for Luke’s room since Eric and I decided a plant makes every room more homey. blog1

The challenge is, we don’t have a huge place and between these plants, our lime tree (which is hanging on by the thinnest of threads though I’m committed to bring it back), a money tree, a Norwegian pine (engagement gift) and orchid…not to mention my succulents…we’re a little overrun. Thank god Eric is willing to humor me. A few years ago he made me this lovely plant stand, and it’s full-to-bursting right now.

There really is something about having plants that makes you feel rooted (pun intentional). And after the rocky few month’s we’ve had, I’ve really enjoyed heading out onto our balcony every day or so to see what’s changed. New leaves are budding on my lime tree and our new succulents seem happily a1048675_10200954059906407_1930557759_ot home and my tomatoes and zucchini are going crazy.

We’ve been spending our evenings on the balcony each night because Luke can’t get enough time outside. We blow bubbles, watch planes and helicopters and look for humming birds visiting our feeder. He also grabs the soil from my plants and tries to stick it in his mouth but, I think that’s to be expected at this age. For city-dwellers, I’m glad we have space to put down roots. I’m hoping in our next place to have even more space and try my hand at a “real garden”

What are you planting this year? I’m sure your list is much more extensive!